“Competition policy is fourth pillar of Economic Policy”
Ahmedabad, 22 June 2012
Mr. Ashok Chawla, Chairman of Competition Commission of India (CCI), today said that India’s shift from Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act enacted in 1969 to setting up of Competition Act passed in 2002 has been as per international norms.
Addressing the inaugural lecture in lecture series on ‘Competition, Economic Policy and Common Man’, jointly organized by Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA) and FICCI, he said the Indian Act seeks to prohibit anti-competitive agreements including cartels, prevent abuse of dominant positions and regulate mergers and acquisitions (M&A) above the threshold.
Mr. Chawla said that India was among the first developing country to have an Act to restrict unfair trade practices since 1969, subsequently amended in 1981 and again with winds of Economic Reforms in 1991. The expert committee set up in 1999 suggested replacing the MRTP Act and that is how CCI came into being in 2002. However, its provisions were enforced in 2009 after the Act was amended in 2007 and provisions concerning M&A one year ago.
During the last three years, he said that CCI has received 267 matters alleging violations of the Act in diverse sectors like insurance, financial, automobile and pharmaceuticals. Out of them, over 200 have been solved. Unlike MRTP, he said, CCI applies to all enterprises. It includes railways but excludes atomic energy and space.
Mr. Chawla stressed on the need to spruce up agriculture, certain infrastructure, land and labour markets, upgrade skills, create ‘resource raj’ and to increase governance architecture and institutional credibility for completing the unfinished agenda.
He said the process of rivalry between business enterprises and consumers is a fundamental characteristic of a flexible and dynamic market economy. The government duty is responding to demand for better quality goods and services at lower prices, increasing productivity and ensuring investment for innovations.
Mr.A.K. Joti, Chief Secretary, Government of Gujarat, in his introductory remarks said that India’s emergence as one of the fastest growing economies has its added responsibility of ensuring companies corporate behaviour. He said that Gujarat’s model of including people as drivers of growth. The government policies and regulatory policies have to be pro-competition with free and fair practices.
Mr. Pankaj Patel, Chairman of FICCI Gujarat State Council, said that evolving competition law jointly with the government over the years has been a FICCI vision too.
Mr. Arvind Agarwal, Director General of SPIPA, in his welcome address said that Economic Reforms through Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) witnessed higher Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate but has to provide a level playing field for producers to provide quality products and services to the consumers.
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